“Communicating confidence and hope in the knowledge society":
Conference organized by UNINETTUNO
A debate taking place in the framework of the “Week of Social Communications” of Rome’s Vicarage
Devoting space to “good and right” news in a society distracted by an excessive amount of information. How can we do so? This was the question raised by the speakers of the “Communicating Confidence and Hope in the Knowledge Society” Conference, organized by the International Telematic University UNINETTUNO under the patronage of Corecom Lazio – represented by its president, Michele Petrucci – and coordinated by Gianpiero Gamaleri, Dean of the Communication Sciences Faculty and professor of “TV Languages and Journalism”.
UNINETTUNO, once again, opens its doors to important cultural events to give its contribution to a debate about important current issues. The Conference was opened by the Rector, Maria Amata Garito, who called for the need for more effective rules to run the Web and making “the global citizen” free. Also making reference to her book “L'Università nel XXI Secolo tra Tradizione e Innovazione (The Univeristy of the XXI Century between Tradition and Innovation)” (McGraw-Hill Education), which raises questions about the University’s function in the knowledge society, the Rector asked whether it is possible to assure the citizens’ freedom especially as regards fair information practices.
A challenge accepted by all the speakers: “We, as communicators, are the first ones who must have confidence and hope since only this way we can be successful in communicating them to the other people”, Paolo Montesperelli, professor of Sapienza University of Rome, said. According to Mons. Dario Edoardo Viganò, prefect of the Secretariat for Communication of the Holy See and professor of “The entertainment of the multimedia society: forms and languages” at UNINETTUNO, the solution consists in not “making confusion between the visibility of the news and their relevance” and, he added, making reference to some passages of the message of Pope Francis for the World Social Communications Day, “we must tell about the tragedy of real life, but also about the beauty that there is still in it”, which is the only way to restore confidence.
Giacomo Mazzone, in charge of the institutional relations of the European Broadcasting Union, called for “an ethical principle”: “Creating and spreading news – he explained – requires wider and wider attention and responsibility in moral terms. We must – he added – restore confidence in the media” and fight against the “vilification of the profession of the journalist”. Totally agreeing with this, Vincenzo Morgante, director of RAI Regional News Services having 24 press offices spread over the entire national territory, who said that we need to come back to the quality of contents and to a kind of journalism capable of “rediscovering its social and service-supplying role”. The key, he added, is “highlighting good news which are not always a synonym for light news. Good news have a dignity of their own and must be treated as the other ones. Only doing so a journalist fulfils his obligations to tell about the whole reality”. An opinion reaffirmed by Rodolfo De Laurentiis, professor of “New Media Law” at UNINETTUNO, who stressed the crucial and leading role of the radio and television public services and the importance of recognizing the role and function of media in granting fair information.
Alberto Gambino, vice Rector of the European University, recalled the need to “find a perfect agreement between the essence of human beings and the new technologies” in order to prevent them from becoming their victims. A return to slowness, was instead, recommended by Giovanni Anzidei, head of the press office of the Accademia dei Lincei: “Let’s bring humankind to the centre of the system again” he affirmed, enhancing cultural excellence. Marco Ferrazzoli, head of CNR’s press office, underlined instead the importance of giving new impulse and confidence to research in order to prevent the Web from vilifying it. An original and very concrete proposal was made by Massimo Marzi, author of the “Benegiornale” (Armando Editore): a new format, fitting any platform, aimed at spreading contents telling about Good. A very peculiar way to “curb the disproportionate dissemination of Evil”.
An expert of Vatican’s affairs of Radio1Rai, Fabrizio Noli, sent a contribution to the debate: “The actual problem – he writes – at bottom, is not what we should communicate, but how. The good news is an expression we find in the Bible. But, there are also the secular good news that revolves around the five Ws, the keys of British journalism: who, what, when, where and why. Answering these five questions is the first big step to cultivate good news and give confidence and hope”. At the Conference closure, the speech of Mons. Lorenzo Leuzzi: “We live in a society in which people believe to anything. We must suggest a critical-objective method since – he added – a society which uses technology to escape from reality has no future. The speed of information must not be confused with the speed of knowledge; the last one must be prioritized”.